Review – Custom Dream Hammock – Darien

Hammock tips, illustrations, and reviews.

Review – Custom Dream Hammock – Darien

dream hammock Darien

If you’ve ever considered ordering a custom-made hammock, take a look at Dream Hammock. Growing from a garage shop to a full-fledge cottage vendor, Randy (aka Papa Smurf) has built a reputation for creating high-quality, customized hammocks. And by custom, I mean you can pick everything from the fabric to the thread color and zipper pulls. I follow Randy’s shop on social media and he regularly posts pictures of each creation, and when I saw a custom Darien made from some lightweight, monofilament 1.0 oz Moonlite fabric, I decided I had to have one of my own.

Be sure to check out the video I created that shows the step-by-step approach I used to explain how to navigate all the options Randy offers.

Dream Hammock Darien monolite hammock
I love the dark olive color of this fabric: a perfect blend to the environment.

In this post, I wanted to post some of my thoughts after getting the hammock. But before I jump into the hammock, let’s chat about cottage vendors. In my book, I mention the important thing to remember is patience. Randy builds each hammock by hand (well, he and his incredible crew), so you need to be prepared for a wait period. Randy posts the status of each order on his website, but I have to admit that waiting can be agonizing. At first, I was checking the updates daily, then weekly, and then I just had to occupy myself with other things until the big day arrived. Once the hammock is complete, you can reference the order—or other orders—which can use to build another custom hammock. My hammock was order #8147, if you’re curious about all the details.

Thoughts on my custom Darien

The long wait over, I was so pleased to receive my custom Darien hammock. The build was exactly as I had expected and it was so fun to try it out. The detail on the stitching was incredible. The build was excellent and I loved the color contrasts with the thread, zipper pulls, and end loops—a perfect way to “own” my own hammock.

I chose the Darien because I was trying for a simple design that would cater to my lightweight approach. I chose the monofilament fabric as it was a good compromise between light weight and strength. I chose monofilament for the bug net as well, thinking it would provide a little more wind protection so I could use the hammock in a variety of conditions.

The Darien is a simple design with minimal features, which was exactly what I was looking for in a lightweight hammock. The single size zip on the foot side was just how I like it for easy entry / exit.

After using the hammock a few times, I’ve been wondering whether or not I should have picked a regular no-seem-um bug netting instead, and even used a narrower width to shave off even more grams. The trouble with a custom hammock is that you never truly know how things will turn out until you get it. I am seriously considering ordering another Darien, now that I have some experience under my belt.

Order Specifications

  • Length: 11ft
  • Width: Wide As Possible
  • Layers: Single
  • Outside Layer Fabric: Select Fabric
  • Outside Layer Color: Dark Olive
  • Inside Layer Fabric-Use Only For Double Layer Hammocks: None
  • Zipper: #3 Coil  (Standard)
  • Asym Lay: Right  –  Head Left / Feet Right
  • Suspension: Continuous Loop
  • Tree Straps: None
  • UQ Hooks-Tie Out Hooks: Tie Out Hooks
  • Ridgeline Organizer: No

Color Accents

  • Top Stitching: Orange
  • Zipper Pulls: Orange
  • Grosgrain Loops on UQ Hooks or Tie Out Hooks: Orange Reflective
  • Stuff Sack: Black  (+0.00)

Custom Work

  • 1.0 oz Monolite fabric hammock body
  • 1.0 oz monolite fabric for bug netting

 

17 Responses

  1. Bayly says:

    Hi Derek,
    How is the feel of the 1.0 monofilament fabric? Does it stretch? It is almost see through, so it seems like it might stretch. You mentioned that you may order a narrower one next time, is there just too much fabric? I know you ordered it as wide as possible, how wide did it end up? Thanks for your post.

    • Derek Hansen says:

      The 1.0 monofilament fabric isn’t as stretchy as you might expect. The key is the monofilament — it’s a different method for making thread than typical wound or spun yarn. I think it’s more like extruded. The reason it is so see-through is because the fabric is more like a mesh or netting than regular fabric. Because the threads are so strong, you need less of them to get the same tensile load factor. Lots of great things about monofilament.

      As for the width, it’s really my own fault. Any hammock, if you modify the hang angle, will result in better or worse use of the available fabric. But it’s more the ratio of length to width that is key. If you have a really wide hammock but it’s not very long, you can’t really hang it too loose because you won’t be able to hang diagonally well (ENO hammocks are notorious for this). If it’s really LONG but not wide, you simply won’t have enough fabric to lay very diagonally as your head and legs will just fall off the edge. I didn’t really pay attention when ordering and I think it is to wide for the length.

      When you order from Dream Hammock and ask for “as wide as possible” it’s going to get as wide as the bolt of fabric allows. Some bolts are 42, 54, and 60 inches wide. I can’t remember what the Monofilament is, so I’d have to check, but I think I will make it narrower when I order again.

      • Mike G. says:

        Hey Derek,

        Great review. Considering a Dream Hammock custom myself for UL use and was wondering about the width. Do you know what width yours ended up being and what width you’d recommend for an 11’ hammock? I’m slim, 6’1” and 165. I have a 11 ft Chameleon that’s 58” and it seems to be pretty good.

        • Derek Hansen says:

          Thanks! I got the widest and I’m sorry I did. It was too wide for me. I think a narrower width and a shallower hang angle would have been better (for me). I’m planning on doing a new custom order with Randy and he said he can make those adjustments.

      • Mike says:

        “If you have a really wide hammock but it’s not very long, you can’t really hang it too loose because you won’t be able to hang diagonally well ”

        I would *love* to see an in depth write up or video about this. I did not know this and I have been struggling sometimes to use my Chameleon Wide effectively. Perhaps I need to hang it tighter? I also struggle to get the underquilt to stay under me in this hammock. If I lay diagonal enough, my feet slip over the underquilt’s suspension and it slides under my body. I suspect it’s because the hammock is too wide. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong?

        • Derek Hansen says:

          Sounds like a great video opportunity! You can test this yourself if you can modify your hammock as to not destroy bug netting. The ratio of length to width is important so that you can take full advantage of the width, otherwise it is an impediment to comfort.

  2. John M says:

    Any thoughts on the comfort of monolite compared to some of the other 1.0 fabrics?

  3. Kevin says:

    Any thoughts on mosquito protection in the monofilament fabric?

  4. Mark says:

    How do you accommodate for cooler weather? Can you still slide into your favorite sleeping bag as long as it will fit?

    • Derek Hansen says:

      For cooler weather, yes, use your favorite pad and sleeping bag as you would normally on the ground. To upgrade for even better comfort, consider using a quilt system — a top quilt and bottom quilt. It’s amazing. I have all these details in my book.

  5. Mark says:

    please review deckhandman.com Deckhand Manufacturing
    Hammocks

  6. Yuihiro says:

    Nice to meet you. Your customized hammock is very attractive and I am considering buying one. Please tell me three things. How much does your customized hammock weigh? It is all monofilament fabric, but is it suffocating? Does it become drafty and hot? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

    • Derek Hansen says:

      I think you missed the images and text — a monofilament fabric is a SUPER breathable fabric — almost like a window screen. And your comment about “drafty and hot” is actually contradictory. If something is drafty, that will make you cool not hot. Please clarify what you are looking for.

  7. Hamacas says:

    I like the traditional type hammock better where what holds the hammock of the support is formed by several threads that reach the body of the hammock, which allows it to be extended without problems.
    I also like that the fabric or mesh of the hammock can be stretched even a little.

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